Justice League Dark in its current incarnation seems a little weird to me. While ostensibly a book about the Justice League members who take on magical threats, it seems weird the original line-up didn’t have too many magic users. That seems to have changed by the time the third volume rolls around, but it still seems weird.
Regardless, the third volume, subtitled The Witching War, has a counter-group set up for their own nefarious purposes.
I am still generally of the opinion that Wonder Woman, despite a magical origin story and magical weapons, is perhaps not the best team leader for a group like this since her own personal knowledge of magic is a little weak. Then again, this volume seems to acknowledge that a bit, so here we are.
The main concern this time is Diana’s old foe Circe is putting together an Injustice League Dark to gain power over magic to remake the world, and part of that involves gaining control of Eclipso’s diamond in the JL’s vault. And while Diana’s team now includes John Constantine and two former versions of Dr. Fate alongside Detective Chimp, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat, and Zatanna, she’s going to need the power when Circe assembles a heavily-decayed Solomon Grundy, Klarion the Witch Boy, voodoo practitioner and Constantine opponent Papa Midnite, and flower elemental the Floronic Man to take Diana’s team down. Circe, recently touched by the power of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has the power to do it. She just needs to get everyone right where she needs them first.
I think on my end I am starting to figure out how James Tynion writes his stories. The Justice League Dark will meet an opponent, said opponent will slap them around and make it look easy for four or five of the six issue storyarcs, and then something big and magical will happen to empower one or more of the good guys to stop the baddies. This is the third volume, and once again what looked like a force that was far, far stronger than the League went down when someone accessed some unknown power. That said, the teams seemed a little more even-handed this time around. That may be due to the fact Circe’s group was more like traditional bad guys and not some uber-powerful thing from another dimension. Granted, Circe herself seems to fit that description, but it wasn’t until the last minute this time when it looked like the heroes were maybe gonna figure out how to win this one.
Along the way, Tynion also explained what was up with the mysterious Upside Down Man, the leader of the otherworldly things that seem to be out to destroy all magic and may have the power to do so. I actually found that plot line the most intriguing, and while I wasn’t initially all that thrilled with this book, it has gotten better with each successive trade. I really do want to see where he’s going with this now.
8.5 out of 10 sludgy remains of Swamp Thing.